Essentially very much like an HMO. Much of your medical work is restricted to being done at a Military Treatment Facility (MTF). Your primary care manager at the MTF will supervise your care and can refer you to a network of military and civilian medical services.
Active Duty soldiers will enroll in one of TRICARE Prime options depending on where they are stationed on the globe. Their family members can sign up for TRICARE Prime, TRICARE Standard and Extra, and a few other specialized options.
When you enroll, you will be assigned a primary care manager (PCM), either at a MTF or an in-network medical facility. Most of your care will be performed by your PCM and he or she will need to refer you to other specialists for areas out of his or her capability. All of this is provided without any enrollment fees and no out-of-pocket expenses to the soldier and his or her family as long as you go to your PCM for assistance or use a specialist they recommend and authorize for you to visit.